Corpses & Suicides: Strolling London
It had stopped raining for half an hour so I walked into the West End the other day, and ended up taking a rather circuitous route. I’d started at a friend’s place by Columbia Flower Market, and was on the lookout for unusual things. I knew that London’s smallest statue was in Eastcheap, on the corner of a building, and consisted of two mice fighting over a piece of cheese…
But I didn’t expect to find an even tinier one near the Nelson pub, of a man preparing to commit suicide. There are other tiny statues in the area, placed there I suspect by the artist who fills in road potholes with teensy football pitches and lawns. (Click on the shot to enlarge it)
There’s a reason why tourists get lost so easily in London, and it’s this; they think of the Thames as a slightly wavy line running through the city. It’s not. By following it, you walk many extra miles, and it keeps turning you around. For an idea of its bendiness, there’s a gigantic 3D map at the Building Centre in Store Street. The blue’s a bit optimistic.
Cutting through the South Quad of University College London, I was thinking about the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who – greatest honour of all – has a pub named after him around the corner. But the weirdest thing is that his body was preserved, fully dressed and sitting up, with a wax death mask on top, in a giant wooden casket that’s permanently on public display.
My walk finished at an art deco garage that had been working until a few months ago (it was always used for Poirot films) but is now (I think) an office.
All in all, a pleasant stroll, taking in just the right amount of peculiarity.